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World in Revolt

By Bonnie Weinstein

Fight Back

Fightback!:
A Collection of Socialist Essays

by Sylvia Weinstein


People are in revolt all over the world. Strikes and protests are popping up everywhere from the Chicago teachers’ strike, the UAW General Motors strike, to mass protests in Spain over the jailing of the leaders of the Catalonian independence struggle, massive protests in Hong Kong over democratic rights, government corruption and economic inequality. And in Chile alone, on October 26, 2019, 1.5 million people were in the streets of Santiago also protesting income inequality, corruption and injustice. There were protests of similar issues in Ecuador, Haiti, Argentina, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq–all in addition to the massive climate crisis strikes and demonstrations that have been taking place all over the world.

In fact, according to an October 23, 2019 New York Times article by Declan Walsh and Max Fisher titled, “From Chile to Lebanon, Protests Flare Over Wallet Issues. Pocketbook items have become the catalysts for popular fury across the globe in recent weeks” :1

“In Chile, the spark was an increase in subway fares. In Lebanon, it was a tax on WhatsApp calls. The government of Saudi Arabia moved against hookah pipes. In India, it was about onions.... Small pocketbook items became the focus of popular fury across the globe in recent weeks, as frustrated citizens filled the streets for unexpected protests that tapped into a wellspring of bubbling frustration at a class of political elites seen as irredeemably corrupt or hopelessly unjust or both. They followed mass demonstrations in Bolivia, Spain, Iraq and Russia and before that the Czech Republic, Algeria, Sudan and Kazakhstan... experts discern a pattern: a louder-than-usual howl against elites in countries where democracy is a source of disappointment, corruption is seen as brazen, and a tiny political class lives large while the younger generation struggles to get by...”

Their pocketbooks and ours

Meanwhile, in an earlier October 11, 20l9 New York Times article by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman titled, “How to Tax Our Way Back to Justice:”2

“During his presidency, Barack Obama argued in favor of reducing the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, with a lower rate of 25 percent for manufacturers. In 2017, under President Trump, the United States cut its corporate tax rate to 21 percent. In France, President Emmanuel Macron is in motion to reduce the corporate tax in 2022 to 25 percent from 33 percent. Britain is ahead of the curve: It started slashing its rate under Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2008 and is aiming for 17 percent by 2020.”

The greed of world capitalism is what is spurring a new upsurge of workers across the globe. The question is, what is the best way to fight this growing, brutal capitalist inequality—an inequality reinforced by war, racism, sexism and the scapegoating of immigrants fleeing from the wars and the poverty and destitution they bring—all inflicted on us by capitalism’s ever-increasing demand for more wealth for themselves and austerity for us.

Internationalism

Clearly, the labor movement, especially here in the belly of the most powerful capitalist beast, must solidify with all these workers who are protesting against the same enemy—even many of the very same corporations raking in the profits—corporations that plunder the wealth of other nations, exploit cheap labor, and routinely pollute the environment in their quest for increased profits.

Universal problems and universal solutions

Workers all over the world face the same kinds of issues—corroding infrastructure, corrupt government, increases in taxes, lack of healthcare, lack of adequate education, lack of housing, clean drinking water, unequal access to healthy food, combined with low-paying jobs or no jobs at all.

Workers must pay for everything

All over the world working people pay taxes on almost everything we buy, we pay taxes on our income at a higher rate than the billionaires. Yet we pay the same traffic fines and tolls and public transportation fees as the wealthy. But a $75.00 parking ticket for someone making $10.00-an-hour is a whole lot different than for someone who makes a thousand-dollars-an-hour. Even if you have health insurance on your job, your boss pays the same insurance rates and deductibles as you do, but makes way more money. These kinds of taxes are called flat taxes. They are used to pay for social services, schools and infrastructure—and they impact workers on a massive scale yet have absolutely no detrimental impact on the wealthy. It’s so much pocket change for them—if they have to pay them at all.

At the same time, there is a massive amount of work that needs to be done for the good of society in general. There needs to be a massive effort to build schools, housing, hospitals, expand mass transportation to cut down on pollution. We need to stop manufacturing products designed to fall apart and start manufacturing products to last. And especially, we need to stop manufacturing the implements of war and police oppression—guns, bombs, weapons of mass destruction, jails—these are industries that use the most resources, cause the most pollution and, of course, the most death and destruction.

All of these weapons of oppression are designed and used to control us and to preserve a system that puts corporate profits above everything else—above human needs and the preservation of our planet.

The revolutionary party of the working class

There is no dispute that the interests of the world’s working class are the same. We want a world of peace, prosperity, democracy, equality (economic and social), a clean environment, healthy food, universal healthcare, secure and comfortable housing, excellent schools, efficient and safe transportation free to all.

To achieve these things we need to form our own international organizations—organizations that we control and that can formulate programs and tactics to achieve our goals in unity and solidarity with each other no matter what country we live in.

We need a mass party of the working class that crosses all borders as the capitalist corporations do. We need a party of the working class that can identify and organize against our common enemy, the capitalist class, and their system of capitalist exploitation enforced by war, incarceration and oppression.

And we need a common goal—socialism—to create a world where production is democratically based upon the needs and desires of everyone, instead of for the profit of the few. A system that can put an end to war, bigotry, exploitation, slavery and the destruction of our planet—a system that can strive to create a paradise on earth.

A socialist world of equality and justice for all is well within our reach and is the only hope for the future of us all.



1 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/23/world/middleeast/global-protests.html?module=inline

2 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/11/opinion/sunday/wealth-income-tax-rate.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage